Exploring Ireland’s Dingle Peninsula
Dingle Peninsula is on the western tip of Ireland. The isolated location of Dingle’s archaeological, geographical and historical wonders gives it a unique charm. There are remnants left behind from Bronze Age settlement, dark age monks, English foundations and modern times. Dingle Peninsula is also one of the areas of Ireland where the government supports the survival of the Irish language and culture. It is one of the only places where you will hear locals speaking Gaelic as their everyday language.
When to Go
Summer is from June to August, which is the warmest time to go but irrespective of the time of year it will always be relatively cold, particularly near the coast. Wear good quality thermals and have a decent rain jacket and overcoat on hand. The temperature can drop into single figures throughout the year, combined with the wind and humidity can be chilling.
What to See and Do
Take a drive down the scenic Conor Pass which winds from Dingle to the southern part of the peninsula. The road weaves around spectacular cliff faces with stunning views of the geography and coastline. Look into the high fields to where fields were abandoned in 1845, the year of the Great Potato Famine, where potatoes never matured causing starvation to a quarter of the population.
Dingle Marina is a nice place for a walk close to the centre of town. The port was developed following Norman Viking invasion to Ireland. The port grew for exports and held strong connections with other European countries. Fungie the bottlenose dolphin has frequently visited the Dingle harbour since 1984, and enjoys human contact.
The Gallarus Oratory is a Christian church that overlooks the harbour at Ard Na Caithne. The church is made of large cut stones that fit perfectly together and has the shape of an upturned boat. It is believed that this church was built between the 6th and 9th centuries.
The Dunbeg Promontory Fort is another interesting place to visit. The fort was built in the Iron age on the rocky Slea Head overlooking Dingle Bay. Since it was built the cliffs have eroded taking some of the fort with it. The visitor centre has information and audiovisual displays about the area. Close by are a collection of clochan or drystone beehive huts that remain from approximately the 8th century.
Eating and Drinking
Murphy’s Pub has a large menu which will suit all tastes at reasonable prices. Being a coastal town, there is plenty of delicious seafood on offer. Doyle’s Seafood Restaurant, the Half Door and out of the Blue are recommended by locals and tourists alike.
It is possible to get to Dingle Peninsula by rail, bus, plan or boat. Buses go from Killarney or Tralee regularly throughout the day, and these places have connections with Dublin. The closest airport to Dingle Peninsula is Kerry airport, which is approximately an hour drive by car.